So, usually my X Factor will come out on Tuesdays. This week, however, there were extenuating circumstances. See, there was only one man that could be the X Factor and that man was DeSean Jackson. However, since he was in concussion protocol and it was unclear whether or not he would play, I wanted to wait until we had a definitive decision either way.
That time has come and DJax will play.
When facing his former team, Jackson’s teams are 4-1 when DJax plays. He has 20 receptions for 440 yards and two touchdowns in those five games. Greg Auman of The Athletic dropped an interesting tidbit on Twitter about DeSean Jackson; No player in NFL history has more 50+ yards receptions for the Eagles and no player in NFL history has more 50+ yard receptions against the Eagles than DeSean Jackson.
Given the usage he saw against the Saints, he propensity to want to wreck his former team, and the connection with Ryan Fitzpatrick, there is no doubt that DeSean is the ultimate X Factor for this game.
DeSean finished week one with 146 yards receiving and two touchdowns on five receptions, which accounted for all five of his targets.
Yes, the Eagles’ defense is tougher than New Orleans. No one is disputing that. Their pass rush is better, their front seven is better, and they have the ability to shut offenses down. However, just like New Orleans, they don’t have anyone that can keep up with DJax.
So what are the Eagles going to do? Have a man on DJax and shadow him with a safety over top? Okay, enjoy getting roasted by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin all day. Are they going to run zone schemes? Okay, watch Fitz get DJax the ball on short routes in the holes in coverage then watch DeSean’s legs do work.
This is what was missing last season, what has been addressed this season, and what DJax brings to the table - a dynamic playmaker that can create electric plays from anywhere on the field. And if you worry about him too much, he’ll hurt your team by taking on the attention and allowing his teammates to flourish in the one-on-one matchups.
The Eagles are a good team. A very good team. But so are the Buccaneers. They have an offense unlike any seen in franchise history and one that has all the pieces to be one of the most formidable, explosive, and high powered in the NFL. Pick your poison, Eagles. And hope you don’t pick wrong.
Bold Prediction: DeSean Jackson has two touchdown receptions of over 50 yards